The Alexandria City Council last night unanimously rejected a federally funded crisis relocation plan that calls for evacuating 94,000 city residents over three days to remote areas of Virginia and West Virginia in the event of national nuclear emergency.
Council members attacked as "asinine" and "parochial" the recently published Alexandria plan, the prototype for evacuation plans being prepared for other Washington area jurisdictions. The council directed Mayor Charles E. Beatley to inform Virginia Gov. Charles Robb that unless planners take a more regional approach to dealing with nuclear emergencies, Alexandria will have nothing more to do with a plan.
"The plan doesn't recognize that unless you've got a nice long weekend, none of this is going to work," said Vice Mayor Robert Calhoun.
"I think we'd be better off spending our time figuring out how to avoid nuclear war rather than planning for it," said Beatley. "I don't see how we could run fast or far enough to escape. I'm afraid plans like this may be someone's practical idea about how you condition people to the idea of nuclear war, or stir them up."
"In 1946, I saw Hiroshima," said council member Nelson Greene. "In '53 I was back there again. I can tell the governor that the only thing you're going to need in the event of nuclear war is a Bible."
"I view this as plain, ordinary federal featherbedding," said council member Donald Casey in criticism of the state planners, who spent seven months and part of their $213,000 annual budget, supplied by the federal government, on the Alexandria plan. "These are people who have found a nice little niche, with millions of dollars to spend on something that just isn't going to work."
"Take that, federal government!" said council member James Moran.
"Hear, hear!" seconded several other members.
City Manager Douglas Harman and other city officials objected primarily to the plan's failure to address the transportation problems that the evacuation of an estimated 2 1/2 million area residents over Northern Virginia roads would cause.
State civil defense planner James Surratt, author of the Alexandria plan, has defended it and maintains that a single plan for the metropolitan area would be "seven-feet high," and even less workable than the present, localized plan.
Similar evacuation plans are being drafted around the country, and the Reagan administration is asking for a $4.2 billion, seven-year civil defense appropriation that would make the paper plans reality and pay for things like construction of fallout shelters in rural host areas, training of fallout shelter managers and the purchase of 7 million radiation detectors.